Consider this day trip to the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the continental United States, St. Augustine. You will have lots of free time to explore, shop, sightsee or just relax on the beach.
This day excursion is a good option for those vacationing in the area and for those before or after their cruise out of Port Canaveral. This begins with a pickup at one of several central meeting locations in and around the Orlando area in an air-conditioned bus for your trip over to St. Augustine which served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years. When you arrive in the city, your guide and driver will coordinate with you where and when you will meet back up for the return trip. Then the day is yours to spend it the way you want.
St. Augustine is full of history. The city was founded by the Spanish admiral Pedro Mendendez de Aviles in 1565 who later became Florida's first governor. He gave the settlement the name San Agustin as his ships first sighted land on the Feast of St. Augustine Day.
It was in 1819 that Spain ceded Florida to the United States. The city of St. Augustine subsequently played a significant role in numerous wars over the years, including the Civil War when many residents fled after Union troops gained control.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, St. Augustine was the only place in Florida where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested. The ensuing demonstrations and violence became a key factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was at the Monson Motor Lodge where the historic encounter with the hotel manager and protestors made worldwide news.
Embrace the culture of this charming southern city. You can explore many of the highlights and sights of St. Augustine on your adventure. The oldest wooden schoolhouse, a wooden structure located near the city gate. Although the exact date of its construction is a mystery, it appears for the first time on tax records in 1716. It was also one of the first co-ed schools in the United States.
Some of the other points of interest you might want to take in include the Avero House which is one of the last remaining homes within the historic district dating back to pre-1821. The area is dotted with national monuments as well with both Fort Matanzas and Catillo de San Marcos 2 outstanding places to visit. Castillo de San Marcos dates back to 1672 and both are well-preserved structures.
Many historic churches with amazing architecture include the Cathedral of St. Augustine, Mission Nombre de Dios, and the Memorial Presbyterian Church. You can also find several museums including Ripley's, Spanish Military Hospital and St. Augustine Lighthouse museum, and many historical homes. Even the former Ponce de Leon Hotel built in the late 1800's is now home of Flagler College. It is easy to see why there are so many US National Register of Historic Landmarks, Historical Places, Historic Districts
For those looking for some unusual yet history filled places to visit might want to visit the Tolomata or Huguenot Cemeteries! Or maybe stop by the Old St. Johns County Jail now turned museum built before the turn of the century. And as the area was a well-known pirate hangout, a visit to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum might be of interest.
Or maybe just hit one of the white sandy beaches that grace St. Augustine to soak up some sun, comb for shells or play in the surf. There is also plenty of shopping, restaurants, and quiet parks and squares.
At the end of your day in historic St. Augustine, you will gather back at your transportation and be returned to your meeting point in Orlando. This experience is sure to be a highlight of your time in Florida.
Enjoy a day trip to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. Have a walk around the historic town and let it revel you the history and embrace its culture. You'll have enough time to visit all of the major highlights, shopping, beaches and more.